Lost and Gone Forever
I'm not much of a resolution maker. Resolutions feel fraught with failure from jump, but the start of a new year, especially in the throes of the cold make me want to tackle home bound projects. One such project is making peace with my refrigerator.
I am trying to reduce the amount of waste that comes from my kitchen. I recycle and I compost my food scraps, but I still throw out way too much food. I cringe every time I do it, so I am committing to inventing and experimenting with what would probably end up in the compost bin.
Call me crazy, but I feel physical pain when I throw out food. The wasted money, the wasted potential - it all feels incredibly wasteful. I've decided to engage in Fridge Zen - quote my words - being intimately aware of what's in the icebox so I don't overbuy or underuse before it gets scary in there. (I recently found some homemade raspberry rhubarb syrup that would have made Sir Alexander Fleming proud). This requires a dedication to cooking, canning, and sharing - all actions that support my desires to be more present in my environment and enjoying the company of others.
To this end, I had some clementines that were on the verge of turning - a bit dry and leathery to be precise. I could have turned the peels into cleaner (more on that later) and tossed the pulp, but Nigella Lawson's recipe came to the rescue - it's perfect for citrus that's just past its prime or isn't as sweet as you would have liked. I made a few tweaks to her recipe, but honestly there isn't much to tweak. If you enjoy olive oil cake, you'll probably like this one. This cake is not too sweet and a boon to the less-carbers, low-carbers, gluten-freeers and those who just love a good slice of cake.
Miss Lawson's Clementine Cake
Makes 9" diameter cake.
4-6 clementines, satsumas, or other small oranges, whole
2 oranges, sliced thickly and peeled for garnish (optional)
2 1/3 cups of almond flour/meal
1/4 cup of Cointreau, Grand Marnier, or limoncello (optional)
1 cup of sugar
1 big teaspoon of baking powder
butter or coconut oil for greasing the pan
8" or 9" springform pan
parchment paper cut into a round the size of the pan insert
whisk or mixer
food processor/blender (optional)
oven (preheated to 350)
microwave or pot of boiling water
Pierce the whole oranges with a knife and boil for 2 hours with enough water to just cover them, then drain and cool (this can be done the day before). Alternately, you can pierce the oranges and microwave in a bowl of water for 3-4 minutes on high if you want to work quickly - also drain and cool.
Slice and peel your garnish oranges if you haven't already. Grease your springform pan and insert the parchment paper - set this aside. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Slice the oranges and remove the seeds if there are any, but retain the pith (white stuff) and the rind. You can chop the oranges (rind and all) finely, or toss them in the blender/processor with the 1/4 cup of liqueur or some of the leftover orange water. Pulse until you get kind of an orange purée and set aside.
Whisk the almond meal, sugar, and baking powder together in a bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs. I added another generous dash of limoncello here for good measure. Add the almond meal mix to the eggs, a little at a time to incorporate. I did this all with a balloon whisk, but you can use a hand/stand mixer. Finally, add the orange purée until completely incorporated.
Pour the batter into the springform pan and pop in the oven. About 20 minutes into the bake time after the batter had started to set, I placed my orange garnishes on top of the cake and continued to bake for another 20 minutes. Around the 30 minute mark, it is advised to put foil on top of the cake to prevent it from overbrowning - keep an eye on it and see if your cake needs it.
Remove from the oven, pop it out of the springform, and cool before cutting (I completely failed here...it was warm and orangey and delicious...and even more delicious this morning with a fat dollop of Greek yogurt on top. EAT CAKE FOR BREAKFAST!